Tuesday, September 29, 2009

24: Ten Commandments

Exodus 19-21
A few months after the Israelis leave Egypt, Moses talks to God and God says he is going to come down from mount Sinai in a dense cloud to talk to the people. This is going to happen in three days so all of the people wash their clothes and stop having sex for three days. I'm not sure what not having sex has to do with preparing for a visit from God. God says that anyone who touches the mountain or goes up the mountain for any reason will be stoned to death and shot with arrows.

On the morning of the third day there was a storm on the mountain and a trumpet blast. Oh no, God plays the trumpet. Apparently he plays it badly because everyone in the camp trembles. Moses goes up the mountain and God tells him to get Aaron and not let anyone else up the mountain.

The ten commandments. A first preliminary question, I've had a lot of people tell me that old testament laws, namely the ones given to the Israelis, were just given to the Israelis and were only for them. So does this apply to the ten commandments? If so, why do we follow them and say we must have them in our courthouses? I'm not going to type them all out but if you want to read along go here.

1. No other Gods, ok fine.

2. Don't make idols. I'm glad people don't worship sculptures of Jesus, oh wait... It says if you make idols that God will punish your children to the third and fourth generation, that seems more than mildly ridiculous. I'm so glad my great great grandfather didn't worship any idols.

3. You shouldn't misuse God's name. Which one? Yahweh? Lord? God? Jesus (oh wait, I haven't read that yet, never mind)? Oops, I think I just broke this one.

4. Don't work on the sabbath, not even a visitor in your home is supposed to work on the sabbath. Not even your servants or your animals can work. Don't work on Sunday, I like it, if only my professors knew not to give me homework on the weekend.

5. Honor your father and mother. Is this really on the list? Oh well, it's the first one I follow to any reasonable degree.

6. Don't murder. Did God read this before he wrote it down? I guess it's do as I say not as I do. Oh, and I do this one too :D.

7. Don't cheat on your wife. Again, is this really one of the base necessities of life?

8. Don't steal stuff. I like it. Too bad the Israelis stole from the Egyptians a couple of months before these were written.

9. Don't lie. Fair enough. Top 10 on the morality chart? I think not.

10. Don't be covetous. That one's definitely not top 10.

I think I'm going to make up 10 commandments off the top of my head and see if I can't come up with something better than be nice to your parents. Bare with me here.

1. Don't kill (not don't murder, don't kill... period).

2. Don't steal.

3. Don't discriminate, this includes gender, orientation, fat, skinny, light, dark, religion etc...

4. Don't rape. (did God forget about this one?)

5. Don't hurt people. (unless they're into it)

6. Do love your enemy.

7. Don't hate.

8. Don't needlessly destroy.

9. Do seek knowledge.

10. Don't lie (ok, I guess it made top 10)

Hmm, that took me 10 minutes and not one of them are "Worship me now!!!".

The Israelites hear another trumpet call and they tell Moses not to let God talk to them or they will die. Moses replies that God has come to test them and that the fear of God will keep them from doing bad things. Unless God is the one telling them to do bad things, then it's totally cool.

God then tells them to make an alter, but they can't go up on it unless they're naked. What?

Now God starts laying out laws, which are different from the ten commandments? Somehow? Are we supposed to follow these or are these rules just for the Israelis? He lays out a bunch of random rules for Hebrew servants.

Oh, I thought these rules we're going to be reasonable, not in the Bible.

Anyone who curses their father or mother will be killed. Excuse you? If a man beats his slave and the slave doesn't die directly, but dies a few days after, the master will not be punished. Because the slave is the man's property. Really? There are a bunch of rules about bulls goring people. If two men are fighting and a woman gives birth prematurely as a result, they will be punished if there is serious injury to her.


  1. I like your 10 better...

    "Do seek knowledge" i like this one alot tis what im doing right now.

    Dont Lie i think is a top 10. After All Lies lead to hurting, killing etc

  2. Too bad most "christians" don't follow your number 9.



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